SheTalks Event

Women Who Create tell great stories…

We invite the public to attend the SheTalks storytelling event supporting women who create.

Following the Women Who Create Conference, a community cocktail reception will kick-off showcasing six SheTalks presentations.  What’s a SheTalk?  Taken from the Japanese inspired PechaKucha, it is a presentation style where each presenter shows 20 slides, each for 20 seconds.  All of the six stories are told by women who create in all types of facets.

The event is hosted by the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by the ISU Debbie & Jerry Ivy College of Business.

When: Thursday, October 24 at 4:30-6:30 pm

Where: ISU Economic Development Core Facility, 1805 Collaboration Place, Ames, Iowa

Meet the Storytellers…

Debra Marquart | Rock + Poetry

In her early twenties, Debra Marquart was well on the way to building the life she’d always dreamed: a career in music. A few years earlier, she had taken the risk of dropping out of college to join a band, and now her latest music project—a progressive hard rock band called The Look—was touring the Midwest, writing their own songs, and headlining concerts. This all came to an end one August evening in 1980 when the band’s road crew was involved in an accident. No one was harmed, fortunately, but all the band’s equipment was destroyed in a truck fire. How does one move on from great shock, especially at a young age? How can a loss or unexpected change impact the trajectory of one’s life? In this talk, Marquart will address how it’s possible to construct a new life, a more durable life, out of ashes.  Debra is a distinguished professor of English at Iowa State University and Iowa’s Poet Laureate.

Nancy Mwirotsi | Youth + STEM

It is difficult to give a better description of Nancy than her own daughter does… “Nancy Mwirotsi is many things to me, not just because she is my mother. She is a person who is sympathetic, generous, outgoing, positive, supportive, humble, admired, and loved. She is driven, determined, innovative, impactful, and a visionary.” The accuracy of this description is evident upon merely skimming Nancy’s story.

Nancy is the founder of Pursuit of Innovation 515, known as Pi515, a program that teaches STEM skills to refugee and low-income children in the Des Moines metro.

There are an abundance of STEM jobs and a shortage of STEM professionals; by teaching youth, especially girls, these highly sought skills, she is opening up doors they might not have known existed. She also understands youth are not all the same, so her organization accommodates different ways of learning and discovering, providing space for creativity.

Nancy is an advocate for the refugee and immigrant community, spending time at our state capitol and delivering presentations nationally. She has inspired and provided a pathway for many to attend college; in 2016, all five seniors in her program entered college to study STEM fields. As an immigrant herself, Nancy courageously started something from nothing, because she saw a need and an opportunity.

Lyndsey Fennelly | People Champion

Lyndsey Fennelly is an impassioned student, teacher, and basketball skill trainer whose vision is to inspire people to be their BEST, both on and off the court. She is a leader who happens to coach basketball and is one of the most sought after skill development teachers in the country, directing the 4th annual 2019 Georges Niang & 3rd annual 2019 Naz Mitrou-Long basketball camps.

She earned All-American honors at Iowa State University and led the NCAA in assists during the 2006 – 2007 season. Lyndsey was named as one of the top five point guards in the United States (by ESPN) and was selected by the Indiana Fever in the second round of the WNBA draft.  Lyndsey currently resides in Ames, Iowa with her husband, Billy Fennelly, an Assistant Coach for the Iowa State University women’s basketball program. They are passionately involved in a variety of charities and community outreach events throughout the year.

Natalie Dayton + Kati Colby | Fitness Entrepreneurs

Natalie Dayton and Kati Colby co-founded The Drop, a community-based fitness platform that allows members to access a multitude of boutique fitness studios in the Des Moines area under one membership, as well as local offerings from health and wellness businesses.

Kati Colby is someone who finds her joy and spark through consistent movement while cultivating relationships in her favorite city and hometown, Des Moines. Her journey in the fitness industry began seven years ago with an opportunity to build the foundation, culture, and community for lululemon Des Moines. Since her team of four at the lululemon Des Moines showroom, she has helped curate a team of 60+ passionate, like-minded individuals who find unity through sweat, development, and connection. Kati is ready to spread this internal fire, drive and support that group fitness offers to Des Moines and beyond!

Natalie Dayton’s love for group fitness started back in high school at her local YMCA. After graduating from ISU, she got her certification in three Les Mills fitness programs, reigniting her passion in the group fitness game. She later got her certification at Power Life Yoga in Sculpt, because, you know, variety. While she’s worked at Meredith Corporation as a magazine editor for nearly nine years, her entrepreneurial drive fueled her to create her own custom wedding invitation design company—Flyover Design Co.—in 2015. With her background for fitness, her passion for creating, and her love for all things Des Moines, The Drop was a no-brainer, and she’s beyond excited to see it take shape in DSM.

Seda McKilligan | Innovative Design

Dr. McKilligan is the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Design and a Professor of Industrial Design. She is also a faculty in the Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program.  Dr. McKilligan teaches design studios and lecture courses on developing creativity and design thinking skills. Her current research focuses on identifying the impacts of different factors on ideation of designers and engineers, developing instructional materials for design problem and solution spaces, and exploring foundations of innovation. She often conducts workshops on design thinking for a diverse range of groups including student and professional engineers and faculty members at different institutions.

Seda is the author of more than 50 journal articles and conference papers. Her current research focuses on identifying the impacts of different factors on ideation of designers and engineers. Her goal is to investigate and generate instructional methods and materials that will help guide the teaching and learning of deliberate approaches to creative problem-solving in the design process.

Michelle Book | Food Insecurity

Michelle Book began her role as president and CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa on February 1, 2016.  Food Bank of Iowa is a Feeding America member, helping to feed over 175,000 food insecure Iowans in 55 Iowa counties, via 625 smaller frontline partner agencies – schools, pantries, homeless shelters, among others.  Food Bank of Iowa acquires over 1 million pounds of free and reduced cost food each month, keeps it safe for consumption, and delivers it to local organizations who help the hungry.

Michelle serves on the following local community boards and councils:  US Bank Advisory Council, Brenton Arboretum, Salisbury House, and Mid-Iowa Council of Boy Scouts.  She is also a member of the Des Moines Noon Rotary and Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance.  In the past, she served as board chair of BRAVO Greater Des Moines, board chair of Des Moines Botanical Garden, a member of the Governors STEM Advisory Counsel, and an advisor to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  Michelle was honored to be recognized as a Des Moines Woman of Influence in 2014.

Michelle is originally from Jefferson, Iowa and resides in Des Moines, Iowa.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Iowa State University.  She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor.  Her career has spanned opportunities in hog farming, health care, international business, and non-profit leadership.  In her free time, she enjoys sharing great food with interesting people, relaxing with yoga, and recreating in nature.

The event is free and open to the public.  Please let us know if you can make it by registering below!

SheTalks Presentations

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